Improving Great Artesian Basin water use efficiency

The Queensland Government has been working with landholders to minimise the decline in aquifer water pressures caused by increased use of Great Artesian Basin (GAB) water.

Regulations have been introduced to prevent uncontrolled water flows and to replace bore drains with pipes.

Early bore without headworks emptying into open bore drains
Early bore emptying into open bore drain

Management plans

The water plan for the GAB in Queensland includes a range of provisions to protect flows and regulate the location of new bores.

The plan requires all artesian bores to be fitted with watertight delivery systems by September 2027 and includes incentives to accelerate capping and piping projects.

Water entitlements can now be issued for a proportion of the water saved through privately funded capping and piping works.

The Australian Government and Queensland Government are developing an updated GAB strategic management plan for 2018–2032. This will improve the coordination of management practices across state boundaries and encourage water efficient practices.

Water use efficiency programs

Interim Great Artesian Basin Infrastructure Investment Program (IGABIIP)

The IGABIIP program is providing refunds of up to 90% of the costs for eligible projects to save water from uncontrolled bores and bore drains.

We estimate there are approximately 160 uncontrolled bores and 5,500km of bore drains remaining in Queensland.

Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI)

From 1999 to 2017, the joint federal-state government initiative resulted in significant water-saving works, including:

  • 700 bores rehabilitated
  • 14,000km of bore drain replaced with piping
  • 207,000 megalitres of estimated water savings per year.

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